‘Bleg’: How Long are your ‘Revise & Resubmit’ Letters to the Editor?


I have been asked to revise and resubmit (r&r) an article submitted for an IR journal. But it’s a big r&r; the editor even said it would be “a great deal of work” (groan). While I must make the changes to the manuscript, I must also submit a letter to the editors and reviewers to explain my changes. That’s normal of course, but I wonder how the community would appraise the proper length of a letter to the editor for a major r&r? In my last r&r, thankfully a minor, I wrote 2-3 pages. But for a major r&r that “needs a great deal of work’’, I was thinking around 10 pages. Is that too much? Would that you bore you to tears ? (Actually, don’t answer that.)

More generally, I think this is an interesting, undiscussed question for the field, because I have no idea if there are any norms at all on this. I can’t recall discussing this issue ever in graduate school (probably because I couldn’t have gotten an r&r anyway and didn’t even know what r&r meant). Nor can I recall seeing anything on this in all those journals we get from APSA (so many…). So whadda ya think?

Here are some other odds and ends:

NB1: Here is an thick response from a PNU colleague to my argument that Americans don’t care enough about Asia to support the pivot. I like this.

NB2: If you are interested in Korea-EU affairs (that one’s burning up the conference circuit, baby!),  I just wrote a summary at the East Asia Forum of a longer argument in the current IRAP. (Asia junkies should check out EAF if they don’t know it already.) The bumper-sticker version is that Korea and the EU relations won’t go beyond the FTA that got lots of press here, because the loss of strength gradient is so high. They just don’t interact enough to care that much. Isn’t it nice that you don’t even need to read my abstract now? It’s all about the bumper-sticker.

NB3: I got a few pieces on CNN recently – short versions of stuff already on the blog. The comments are a laugh riot, including names like ‘Shazam=Evil,” “F – — k usa,” and “Hot Downloads.’ Isn’t that why you love the internet?

5 thoughts on “‘Bleg’: How Long are your ‘Revise & Resubmit’ Letters to the Editor?

  1. I am not working in political but in engineering science. My norm is that my responses are approximately the same length as the referee’s comments.

    Sometimes, I get referees who write a lot but don’t come to a point or simply don’t get the meaning of the manuscript. Then the comments are shorter. Sometimes, a referee makes a short but important comment and then, there is a significant amount of work to be done


      • this is the norm. When I get the responses from the authors of papers, I reviewed, the length is about the same too


      • Is that just engineering, or all the natural sciences?

        Robert E Kelly AsianSecurityBlog.wordpress.com


      • I don’t know. It is what is customary in my field. I heard from a colleague who published in Nature Materials and got lots of problems from the referees that they wrote 30 pages as a reply, which was considered to be totally exceptional.

        But then Nature and Science are a totally different league and almost every scientist is happy to have 1 paper accepted by them. Getting into one of these journals is “scientific knighthood”.


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